Yesterday, President Obama received his first Economic Intelligence Brief from the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a welcome milestone along the road back to responsible leadership. Just as President Obama inherited the Iraq War with all its national security threats, he too inherits a threat-ridden legacy of global economic insecurity. And, just as our president noted with Iraq, we must be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. Unfortunately, the route out of global economic crisis is littered with landmines set by our enemies, allies and the ancien regime, unintentionally or otherwise.
While we don't know exactly what the CIA Brief said, here are 5 no-brainer economic risks to our national security. They are risks that come along with our bold promising solutions to an economic threat decades in the making and inherited by the present administration. In other words, these 5 risks arise mainly from legacy threats.
Still, they must be assessed and addressed. Our leaders can not do this alone-we must together align security and sustainable economic recovery. In fact, many of us outside the beltway have more first-hand intelligence on economic insecurity than those within. In this way, Americans now losing their factory jobs have much in common with citizens in China who are also having factory doors shut on them. We must recognize that, as Gil Scott-Heron put it: 'sometimes distance brings misunderstanding.' It's time to broaden our network of town hall meetings to turn national economic security problems into global sustainable solutions.
Here are 5 risks then:
1) Stimulus Risk
The risk that reinvestment into the US will siphon capital away from the most unstable places, aggravating conflicts.
2) Onshoring Risk
The risk that bringing US manufacturing jobs home will mean lay-offs in factory enclaves in poor countries.
3) Sustainable Energy Risk
The risk that the manufacturing of clean energy will itself be polluting at times and that the more damaging aspects will happen overseas where environmental laws are lax.
4) American Leadership Risk
The risk that the resurgence of US moral and political authority will create an unrealistic expectation that our domestic solutions will do the main heavy lifting for getting the global economy out of crisis.
5) Uneven Recovery Risk
The risk that solutions to the crisis will unevenly distribute benefits and burdens, offloading costs on those least able to shoulder them.